Cite this as: Richards, J.D. 2023 Joined up Thinking: Aggregating archaeological datasets at an international scale, Internet Archaeology 64. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.64.3
The archaeological research community was an early adopter of digital tools for data acquisition, organisation, analysis, and presentation of research results of individual projects. However, the provision of e-infrastructure and services for data sharing, discovery, access, and reuse has lagged behind. The ARIADNE Research Infrastructure has sought to address this situation. Developed with European funding, ARIADNE has created an e-infrastructure that enables data providers to register and provide access to their digital resources through the ARIADNE data portal, facilitating discovery, access, and research. ARIADNE has aggregated resources from over 45 data providers, spanning over 40 countries and 4 continents. The portal now provides online access to over 3.9 million research resources. It is based upon Linked Open Data technologies and is underpinned by a flexible and extensible architecture, enabling multiple combinations and presentations of the same underpinning data. We have been keen not to 'make a great heap' of all the data and, learning from previous data aggregation projects, we have defined a subset of the CIDOC CRM to be used as a strict ontology and paid close attention to data standards and controlled vocabularies to achieve a high degree of interoperability. This article discusses some of the challenges of large-scale data integration and describes the approaches adopted to ensure that the ARIADNE Knowledge Base is an effective tool for archaeological heritage management and research at a national and international level.
Corresponding author: Julian Richards
University of York
Figure 1: Hansen's octopi symbolising the networking of European resources (reproduced from Hansen 1992)
Figure 2: The landing page of the ARENA search portal, developed during the ARENA project 2002-2004, provided a distributed cross-search of catalogues of sites and monuments data for Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Poland. Romania and the United Kingdom
Figure 3: The ARENA temporal search provided a visualisation of the different start and end dates for cultural period terms applied by each of the partners and users could select all resources for which the same period term was used, but searches using absolute date ranges were not possible
Figure 4: The ARENA2 portal: developed as a technical demonstrator for DARIAH
Figure 5: The Transatlantic Archaeology Gateway (2009-11), showing a cross-search across the archives of the ADS and tDAR
Figure 6: Screen shot of the original ARIADNE portal. The landing page p rovided a free text search box and the opportunity to browse the catalogue by the three key parameters of 'Where', 'When' and 'What'
Figure 7: The ARIADNE approach for addressing the complexity of developing advanced integrated services for archaeological research communities (courtesy of ARIADNE project)
Figure 8: The Vocabulary Matching Tool, illustrating the ability to define Exact, Close, or Broad matches between the Getty AAT and target concepts in native vocabularies deployed by partners (courtesy of Ceri Binding, ARIADNE project)
Figure 9: PeriodO - period definitions for France provided by Inrap
Figure 10: The
Figure 11: Visual graph showing part of the ARIADNE triple store in GraphDB
Figure 12: The Publisher filter in the ARIADNE portal. This provides a rapid identification of the number of records from each provider, and in many cases also acts as a country search.
Figure 13: The Resource Type Filter in the ARIADNE portal allows users to extract a subset of interoperable data
Figure 14: The ARIADNEplus portal landing page, showing the auto-complete and multilingual features provided by the application of the Getty AAT
Figure 16: The map browsing function uses a heat map to visualise the density of records
Figure 17: Landing page for an individual data resource, illustrating the ability to display the geospatial extent of the resource as a polygon
Figure 18: The temporal browse facility in the portal
Figure 19: The landing page for a coin held by the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation showing the value of including images among the metadata harvested by the portal
Figure 20: The location of the find spot of a gold ingot displayed to a 1km resolution, such that the actual find spot may be anywhere within the red bounding box
Aloia, N., Binding, C., Cuy, S., Doerr, M., Fanini, B., Felicetti, A., Fihn, J., Gavrilis, D., Geser, G., Hollander, H., Meghini, C., Niccolucci, F., Nurra, F., Papatheodorou, C., Richards, J., Ronzino, P., Scopigno, R., Theodoridou, M., Tudhope, D., Vlachidis, A. and Wright, H. 2017 'Enabling European archaeological research: the ARIADNE E-infrastructure', Internet Archaeology 43. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.43.11
Aspöck, E., Eichert, S., Theodoridou, M., Richards, N. and Felicetti, A. 2023 'Integrating Data on Early Medieval Graves: Mapping the THANADOS database to the ARIADNE infrastructure with the Mortuary Data Application Profile', Internet Archaeology 64. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.64.11
Austin, A., Richards, J.D., Pinto, F. and Ryan, N. 2002 'Joined up writing: an Internet portal for research into the historic environment' in G. Burenhult (ed) Archaeological Informatics: Pushing the Envelope CAA2001, British Archaeol. Rep. International Series 1016. 243-51.
Benardou, A., Champion, E., Dallas, C. and Hughes, L. 2017 'Introduction: a critique of digital practices and research infrastructures' in A. Benardou, E. Champion, C. Dallas and L. Hughes (eds) Cultural Heritage Infrastructures in Digital Humanities, London: Routledge. 1-14.
Bibby, D. 2021 'Digital archaeological archiving in Baden-Wörttemberg, Germany: an evolving system', Internet Archaeology 58. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.58.3
Binding, C., Charno, M., Jeffrey, S., May, K. and Tudhope, D. 2015 'Template based semantic integration: from legacy archaeological datasets to linked data', International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems 11(1), 1-29. https://doi.org/10.4018/IJSWIS.2015010101
Binding, C. and Tudhope, D. 2023 'Automatic normalization of temporal expressions', Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology 6, 24-39. https://doi.org/10.5334/jcaa.105
Dam, C. and Hansen, H.J. 2005 'The European digital resource in archaeology: sites and monuments data as a common European web resource', Internet Archaeology 18. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.18.4
Felicetti, A., Gerth, P., Meghini, C. and Theodoridou, M. 2015 'Integrating heterogeneous coin datasets in the context of archaeological research' in Ronzino, P. (ed) EMF-CRM@TPDL. Extending, Mapping and Focusing the CRM. 13-27. https://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1656/paper2.pdf
Felicetti, A., Meghini, C., Richards, J.D. and Theodoridou, M. 2023 The AO-Cat Ontology. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7818375
Geser, G., Richards, J.D., Massara, F. and Wright, H. 2022 'Data management policies and practices of digital archaeological repositories', Internet Archaeology 59. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.59.2
Hansen, H.J. 1992 'European archaeological databases: problems and prospects' in J. Andresen, T. Madsen and I. Scollar (eds) Computing the Past. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Aarhus: Aarhus University Press. 229-37.
Hansen, H.J. and Fernie, K. 2010 'CARARE: connecting archaeology and architecture in Europeana', International Euro-Mediterranean Conference (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-16873-4_36
Huggett, J. 2015 'Digital haystacks: open data and the transformation of archaeological knowledge' in A.T. Wilson and B. Edwards (eds) Open Source Archaeology: Ethics and Practice, Warsaw, Poland: De Gruyter Open. 6-29. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110440171-003.
Isaksen, L., Simon, R., Barker, E. and de Soto, C. 2014 'Pelagios and the emerging graph of ancient world data', Proc. ACM Conference on Web Science (WebSci'14), ACM. 197-201. https://doi.org/10.1145/2615569.2615693
Jeffrey, S., Xia, L., Richards, J., Bateman, J., Kintigh, K., Pierce-McManamon, F. and Brin, A. 2012 'The transatlantic archaeology gateway: bridging the digital ocean' in M. Zhou, I. Romanowska, Z. Wu, P. Xu, and P. Verhagen (eds) CAA2011- Revive the Past: Proceedings of the 39th Conference in Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Beijing, China, 12-16 April 2011, Pallas Publications. 198-208
Kansa, E. 2014 'Open context and linked data' in T. Elliott, S. Heath and J. Muccigrosso (eds) Current Practice in Linked Open Data for the Ancient World, ISAW Papers 7(10) http://dlib.nyu.edu/awdl/isaw/isaw-papers/7/kansa/
Kenny, J. and Richards, J.D. 2005 'Pathways to a shared European information infrastructure for cultural heritage', Internet Archaeology 18. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.18.6
Kilbride, W.G. 2004 'The Danube in prehistory in the digital age: towards a common information environment for European archaeology', Archeologia e Calcolatori 15, 129-44.
May, K., Binding, C. and Tudhope, D. 2015 'Barriers and opportunities for linked open data use in archaeology and cultural heritage', Archäologische Informationen 38, 173-84.
Meghini, C., Scopigno, R., Richards, J.D. et al. 2017 'ARIADNE: a research infrastructure for archaeology', Journal of Computing and Cultural Heritage 10(3), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.1145/3064527
Michard, A., Christophides, V., Scholl, M., Stapleton, M., Sutcliffe, D. and Vercoustre, A-M. 1998 'The Aquarelle resource discovery system', Computer Networks and ISDN Systems 30(13), 1185-1200.
Niccolucci, F. and Richards, J. 2019 'ARIADNE and ARIADNEplus' in J. Richards and F. Niccolucci (eds) The ARIADNE Impact, Budapest: Archaeolingua Foundation. 7-25. https://zenodo.org/record/4319058
Nicholson, C., Fernandez, R. and Irwin, J. 2021 'Digital archaeological data in the Wild West: the challenge of practising responsible digital data archiving and access in the United States', Internet Archaeology 58. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.58.22
Richards, J.D. 2017 'Twenty years preserving data: a view from the UK', Advances in Archaeological Practice 5(3), 227-37. https://doi.org/10.1017/aap.2017.11
Richards, J.D. 2023 'Getting it together: combining information about archaeological sites and artefacts in ARIADNE', Internet Archaeology 64. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.64.14
Richards, J. and Niccolucci, F. (eds) 2019 The ARIADNE Impact, Budapest: Archaeolingua Foundation. https://zenodo.org/record/4319058
Richards, J.D., Jakobsson, U., Novák, D., Štular, B. and Wright, H. 2021 'Digital archiving in archaeology: the state of the art. Introduction', Internet Archaeology 58. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.58.23
Shaw, R., Rabinowitz, A., Golden, P. and Kansa, E. 2016 'A sharing-oriented design strategy for networked knowledge organization systems', International Journal on Digital Libraries 17, 49-61. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00799-015-0164-0
Vassallo, V., Theodoridou, M., Felicetti, A. and Avgousti, A. 2023 'Tools and Ontologies for the Aggregation and Management of Cypriot Archaeological Datasets', Internet Archaeology 64. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.64.10
Wright, H. and Richards, J.D. 2018 'Reflections on collaborative archaeology and large-scale online research infrastructures', Journal of Field Archaeology 43, S60-S67, https://doi.org/10.1080/00934690.2018.1511960
Internet Archaeology is an open access journal based in the Department of Archaeology, University of York. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.
Internet Archaeology content is preserved for the long term with the Archaeology Data Service. Help sustain and support open access publication by donating to our Open Access Archaeology Fund.